Forge Global, a global private securities marketplace, has announced the closing of an oversubscribed funding round of more than US$150 million.
Backers include existing investor Deutsche Börse and new investors Temasek, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, LUN Partners Group, and True Global Ventures.
This round brings Forge’s total funding raised to date to over US$250 million.
Forge intends to use the fresh funding to continue to expand service offerings in the US and beyond.
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Additionally, the company said it has received US’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) approval to operate as a single broker dealer with SharesPost, which Forge merged with in 2020.
Jane Atherton, Managing Director, Investment at Temasek International and Paul Hilgers, Managing Director of Deutsche Börse’s cash market business, will join Forge’s board.
Forge CEO Kelly Rodriques said: “With the momentum from the SharesPost acquisition and the support and backing of strategic investors including private market investing pioneer True Global Ventures, which first invested in SharesPost in 2010, we are in an excellent position to continue to build world-class solutions that bring data, technology and liquidity at scale to the private markets.”
Founded in 2014, Forge is a marketplace for private equity, giving private and institutional investors access to top pre-IPO companies. In other words, it is a marketplace where private shares are traded as freely as public company shares on the Nasdaq.
Since inception, Forge claims to have completed more than US$9 billion in transactions in nearly 400 private companies.
In the months since its acquisition of SharesPost, the company tallied three consecutive record-breaking quarters including in Q1 2021 when Forge completed 1,400 transactions totalling more than US$730 million of volume.
“The importance of private markets is growing — for companies and investors alike,” said Christoph Hansmeyer, Head of Group Strategy & M&A at Deutsche Börse. “Investing in Forge pays testament to our commitment to help companies access liquidity both publicly and privately, and allows global investors to participate in the wealth created in both the public and private markets.”
With more than 642 private unicorn companies globally totalling US$2 trillion in collective valuation and with many of those staying private for 10 years or more, unicorn companies are increasingly turning to the private market for liquidity solutions that Forge provides.
Global institutions are signalling increased interest in innovative new products and services.
“The private securities market plays an increasingly important role in today’s financial landscape, and Wells Fargo recognises the significance of a digital platform like Forge in the ongoing evolution of this marketplace,” said Tom Richardson, Head of Principal Technology Investments at Wells Fargo Strategic Capital.
“Forge’s liquidity solutions simplify the complexities of private market transactions and introduces further transparency into the price discovery process,” Richardson noted.
In February 2021, Forge launched Forge Company Solutions, a comprehensive liquidity solution suite for private, high-growth companies to facilitate custom liquidity programmes including executive liquidity, company-sponsored employee liquidity, tender offers and direct listings.
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